Setting smart goals goes far beyond new year’s resolutions. New year’s resolutions are tied to the start of a new calendar year, but when was the last time you made one that actually stuck? Something different from the typical eat better, workout more and get more sleep.
For me, its been years and I find it more difficult the older I get. There are so many moving pieces, so many factors that can affect my ability to ‘keep’ a new year’s resolution.
I’ve found myself asking if they even make sense at all. In short, the answer is no.
Last year I did something different, focusing on setting smart goals, and here’s what I learned.
In 2019 I translated my smart goals into a vision board. I must admit I didn’t actually make said board until about February. Even then, the vision board only lived on the desktop of my laptop, and not in the physical world. But every time I opened my laptop, there was my reminder of everything I set out to accomplish over 2019.
So did it work? Yes. That’s the short answer. It not only worked, but it changed the way I thought about setting smart goals.
They were no longer just words on a paper, but a roadmap to achieving my goals.
So why did I change the way I look at my goals?
Setting Smart Goals vs. Traditional Goals
I’m more task-oriented and setting smart goals allows you to put realistic expectations on your goals. Instead of just telling myself that I should cook more often, I set a goal to cook four times a week, then planed those meals out. Traditional resolutions can leave room for procrastination. Yes, I have a problem with procrastination, but I’m actively working on it.
Challenge Yourself to Think Smarter
Take yourself outside of your comfort zone. One year I decided that I to say yes to more opportunities in all aspects of my life by opening, rather than closing doors. While this has its downfalls (don’t spread yourself too thin!) it can also teach you a lot about yourself like where boundaries and walls should be broken down and where they should be set up to protect yourself and your sanity.
It helps me to dissect the year and set one major goal for each month. Whether its make it to the gym three times per week or only eat out once per week, by reducing each goal to a bite-sized version, I’m more likely to complete and achieve it.
See Your Smart Goals Through
2019 was the first year I focused on setting smart goals and making a vision board since high school. I was making vision boards back then before they were even a thing. I always loved sitting on the floor of our home growing up, cutting out pictures from my mother’s magazines. There may not have been much of a plan back then, but I certainly filled the pages of my notebooks with images that made me feel good, recipes I wanted to try and places I wanted to visit. I’m not sure where those notebooks live now, but it would be interesting to look back on them now to see if those early visions have become reality.
So in order for us to see it through, we have to do just that – see it. One year of a real vision board has made me a believer in seeing where you want to be and making it happen. At the end of this blog post, I’ll post a few free resources you can use to build your own vision board digitally. Once complete, make sure you put it somewhere you can SEE it – whether it’s your phone or laptop background, or even print it out and place it on your bathroom mirror or refrigerator door.
Setting Smart Goals with Free Resources
It’s easy to build a vision board and it’s even easier to grab a pile of magazines and begin cutting. But if you’re like me and you don’t have magazines sitting around your house, consider building a vision board digitally with the almighty power of Google image search, and the help of these free resources to put all of your images in one place.
This is a free web-based program that will allow you to build your vision board layout on a blank screen. You can use multiple sheets if you have to and have the tools to add text where necessary. All of the Google tools save automatically (if you live in The Bahamas, this means it saves you from BPL).
This is a ‘free’ resource if you have Microsoft Office, but it’s another version of Google Slides that doesn’t require the internet.
This program comes with Mac computers and also allows you to build your own layout. I have also used this program to build resumes, so it’s pretty flexible in what you can do with it.
This is my favorite free tool because it also has its own image bank that you can use to add to your vision board and other designs. It is also web-based and your designs save automatically. There is an upgraded version, but the free version has every tool you need to design projects, and even build graphics for your blog and other social media.